Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Portland
The U.S. has a rapidly-growing senior population and many of them have physical or psychological problems that require them to live in nursing homes. Unfortunately, this puts them at risk for nursing home abuse and neglect, which are both growing problems in Oregon and across the nation. When residents are abused, it is often up to their loved ones to put a stop to it and hold the perpetrators accountable. Our Portland nursing home abuse lawyers understand how shocking and stressful it can be to deal with your loved one's mistreatment. We can guide you through the legal process because we have detailed knowledge of the laws against the abuse of the elderly and we know how to prove liability. Our goals are to hold the liable parties accountable and obtain compensation for the damages that the abuse caused. Our caring attorneys know that monetary compensation will not take away the mental and physical pain from abuse. Compensation can, however, help you find a sense of justice and peace, as well as greater financial security.
Contact us today to learn how our dedicated Portland personal injury attorneys will stand up for the rights of seniors who have suffered abuse-related harm. Your consultation with our attorneys is free and there is no obligation to pursue a case. You will also not owe us anything unless you are compensated. There is a limited amount of time to pursue compensation, so it is best to contact us as soon as possible so we do not run out of time.
Benefits of Having an Attorney
Many people never have to deal with filing a lawsuit over another person's negligence. Even if they do, it is rare and not something that happens very often. This is why the thought of going through the legal process can be stressful and intimidating for most people.
This is why it is often a good idea to hire an attorney to represent you and defend your best interests. Some of the benefits of having an attorney include:
Allowing You to Focus on Your Loved One
The most important thing is your loved one's health and recovery from physical or psychological injuries he or she suffered. By hiring a Portland nursing home abuse lawyer, you can focus on that while your lawyer investigates and manages every step of the legal process. Handling a lawsuit and focusing on your loved one is just too much to ask.
Holding the Perpetrators Accountable
The nursing home and its insurance company will have lawyers who will be trying to pay out as little compensation as possible and avoid admitting fault. They would like nothing more than for you to be handling things on your own. You cannot trust them to do the right thing or for them to treat you fairly.
This is why having a strong advocate on your side who has experience dealing with negligent parties and insurance companies can be a huge advantage. Our Portland nursing home abuse lawyers know what to do when the other side is not providing necessary evidence or offering fair compensation. We know how to properly evaluate your claim to determine the fair value, because you deserve all the compensation you are owed.
Representing You on Contingency
At our firm, you will not owe us anything for our services unless you receive compensation at the end of the legal process. This means your consultation is entirely free. This way you do not have to worry about how to afford our services before deciding to work with us.
Ensuring You Do Not Miss Deadlines
Your case might be resolved through an insurance claim. If not, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Either way, there are deadlines for taking legal action. If you miss these deadlines, you may lose the right to pursue compensation.
The deadline for filing a lawsuit is two years from the date of injury, under Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) section 12.110(1). If you do not file within two years, you will no longer be allowed to file a lawsuit.
The experienced Portland nursing home abuse attorneys at our firm can help ensure you do not miss any deadlines that apply to your claim. We can review your situation to determine when the clock started running and how much more time we have.
Contact Rizk Law today for a free, no obligation legal consultation.
Common Types of Elder Abuse
Nursing home residents are victims of many types of abuse that can result in physical, emotional, mental, and/or financial harm. This can include:
When a caretaker neglects an older adult who cannot care for himself or herself, the older adult can suffer a variety of injuries, some that are life-threatening. Neglect can include:
- Failing to provide proper water and nutrition
- Not ensuring proper personal hygiene, including toileting, bathing and having clean clothes
- Failing to provide necessary medical care, including providing prescriptions
- Not helping a patient move in his or her bed, resulting in bedsores
- Leaving residents unattended for an extended period of time
- Leaving tripping hazards in hallways and other places where residents walk
In some situations, older adults may be the victims of violent assaults involving hitting, punching, kicking, pushing, slapping or even pinching. The perpetrators could be nurses, caregivers, staff members or even visitors to the facility.
Sometimes violence is a reaction when a staff member becomes impatient and frustrated with seniors and may take it out on them physically. Other times staff members may use physical threats and violence as a way to assert control. No matter what the motive, physical abuse can result in broken bones, contusions, lacerations, brain injuries, facial injuries, and more, all in addition to the mental trauma of suffering such violent attacks.
Older adults are physically vulnerable and often cannot fight off abusers. This makes them particularly vulnerable targets for sexual abuse.
Abusers may expose a victim, expose themselves, commit unwanted sexual touching, engage in non-consensual sexual acts, or commit sexual assault. This type of abuse can leave a victim with injuries to the genital areas, sexually-transmitted diseases, and deep emotional scars.
Sometimes abuse occurs when a resident is sedated, or the victim is so physically disabled that he or she can barely move on his or her own.
Not all types of abuse leave physical marks or scars. In some situations, a person may commit abuse with words and tactics that do not involve physical attacks. Emotional abuse can involve belittling, manipulation, taunting, threats or instilling fear, name-calling, humiliation, isolation, and other tactics that can result in emotional trauma. Emotional and mental injuries should not be discounted, as they can significantly reduce the quality of a senior’s life.
One type of abuse that is not considered as often is financial abuse. Someone may get close to an older adult and manipulate him or her into turning over control of money and property. Others may conduct fraudulent schemes against unknowing seniors, often costing them significant sums of money. Some parties may simply steal money from older adults when they believe the victim will not notice.
Other examples of financial abuse include:
- Forging signatures on checks
- Opening bank accounts in the resident's name
- Using bank accounts without permission from the resident
- Providing substandard care even though the resident can afford better
All forms of elder abuse can cause serious and lasting injuries. Even though an elderly individual may not be as sharp or strong as he or she used to be, any deterioration of quality of life should never be discounted.
At the Rizk Law Office, our nursing home abuse attorneys in Portland have seen the devastating effects of elder abuse and are here to help obtain the full compensation that victims deserve. Compensation can be for medical expenses, lost property or assets, physical and mental pain and suffering, and more.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form today.
Signs of Abuse to Look For
The reason people get away with elder abuse is that victims are often unable or scared to come forward. Sometimes they fear retaliation from the abuser if they say anything. There are also situations where victims are mentally incapacitated and unable to communicate or alert others of abuse or neglect.
This is why it is so important for family members to know the signs of abuse and watch for them whenever they visit or talk to their elderly loved ones. You may be the only one who can put a stop to abuse and uncover what is actually happening.
Common signs of nursing home abuse or neglect include:
- Bruises the resident cannot explain
- Bedsores, particularly ones in advanced stages
- Weight loss that is unexpected
- Poor personal hygiene, especially if your loved one needs help with those things
- Social withdrawal
- Acting fearful around staff members
- Hazards in walkways
- Depression or other emotional issues
- Large withdrawals from financial accounts
- Lack of staff members when you visit
You should trust your instincts if you think something is wrong. Ask your loved one what is going on. Talk to staff members and caregivers. If they are dismissive or unhelpful, it could be a sign they are covering something up.
You can call Oregon's statewide toll-free reporting line if you suspect or witnessed abuse. The person you talk to will ask you questions about the abuse to determine an appropriate response, so be ready with details, such as:
- Description of the abuse or neglect
- Whether the victim is still in danger
- Your contact information so you can be contacted in the future
- The victim's age, location and level of functioning
After reporting the situation, an investigator will respond and begin an investigation. You can contact an attorney during this investigation to discuss your options. While the state may take actions against the abuser, they will not provide you compensation. The only way to obtain compensation is to pursue a personal injury claim.
Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in Portland to discuss your legal options.
Holding Abusers Accountable for the Harm Caused
Nursing home residents are abused by a variety of people who should be held accountable for their actions. These are some of the people and entities who could have liability for abuse or neglect.
- Nursing homes – You should trust that a nursing home will take proper care of your loved one. Unfortunately, various types of abuse happen in nursing homes more often than you may believe. Facilities could be held liable for failing to conduct background checks on employees, hiring employees with criminal records or a history of abuse, understaffing of a nursing home, and failure to hire staff members with the proper training.
- Nurses – These individuals could fail to properly administer medication or respond to injuries or physical issues a resident is having. Sometimes nurses get frustrated and impatient and lash out at residents.
- Strangers – Sometimes residents are abused by trespassers or visitors to the facility. When this happens, the abuser and the facility could face liability.
- Staff members – When staff members fail to check up on residents or maintain a safe environment, injuries can happen. For example, staff members failing to clean up obstacles in the hallway or keep doors locked so residents do not wander off could be held liable for neglect or abuse.
Any party that takes advantage of a senior and harms him or her should be held fully accountable under the law. If you visit your loved one and detect that any type of harmful abuse has occurred, do not hesitate to notify the police and then discuss any further legal options with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Portland.
Call Rizk Law today for a free consultation. 503.245.5677.
Your Loved One's Rights Under Federal and State Law
Nursing home abuse and neglect are not only unethical, they are illegal under federal and state law. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 and Oregon's Nursing home patients' bill of rights (ORS 441.605) outlaw various forms of abuse and neglect and grant a variety of rights to nursing home residents. This includes the right to:
- Be treated with respect and dignity – This includes the right for a resident to make his or her own schedule and have complete privacy when receiving medical treatment.
- Live free of mental or physical abuse – This includes abuse of a verbal, sexual, physical or psychological nature. Staff members also cannot use chemical or physical restraints unless it is done under the order of a doctor.
- Take part in various activities – This includes the right to participate in social or religious activities and in community groups.
- Keep and use personal property – This applies as long as the property does not interfere with other residents' safety, health or rights.
- Be fully informed about medical treatment – This includes being informed of treatment plans and having the ability to participate in planning. Residents are also allowed to refuse experimental research.
- Manage personal finances – If the facility has been given the right to do this, the resident still has the right to be given a quarterly report of his or her account.
- Communicate privately – The resident can talk to whoever he or she wishes with privacy, including sending and receiving mail without it being opened.
- Complain about problems – Residents are allowed to complain to staff members or others without fear of retaliation or punishment. When complaints are made, the facility must address them promptly.
If these or other rights are violated by the nursing home, your loved one may have been the victim of abuse. You should consider speaking to a Portland nursing home abuse lawyer about possible legal options. We can guide you through the process as we pursue the justice and compensation you and your loved one are entitled.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form today.
Contact Our Dedicated Portland Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today
If you notice anything out of the ordinary with an elderly loved one, you should not hesitate to ask questions and look into the possibility that he or she has been a victim of nursing home abuse. It is never too soon to contact an attorney and discuss the situation and review your legal options. The consultation with the attorneys at Rizk Law is 100 percent free and comes with no legal obligations.
Our Portland nursing home abuse attorneys understand how devastating nursing home abuse can be and are prepared to pursue fair compensation for the damages your loved one has experienced, physically, psychologically and financially.